Like father like son
Not in the Hardaway household.
Even in a city that cuts former rivals and villains of the past no slack it seems as if Knicks fans everywhere are quick to embrace the arrival of Tim Hardaway Jr. who was selected by the team with the 24th pick in Thursday night s draft.
Those are the same fans who grew up despising his father Tim Sr. a storied Knick killer and future Hall of Famer wh o was a central figure during the Knicks Heat rivalry in the late 90s.
It s ironic but it s not awkward at all Tim Jr. whose father is currently a community liaison and scout for the Miami Heat said at the Knicks practice facility in Greenburgh on Friday. He s happy for me whatever team I went to. That s what a father should do whether it's a rivalry or not.
Tim Hardaway Jr. s arrival in Knickland signals a changing of the guard in the rivalry. It s very ironic the years that I played and the rivalry that we had to know now it s coming full circle my son is going to play for the Knicks Tim Sr. said.
While the elder Hardaway also on hand in Greenburgh admitted Friday Yes I can root for the Knicks even though I work for the Miami Heat he said he s not sure what will happen when the Heat faces his son s new squad.
When they play against us I don t know. That question has been asked many many many times and I don t know he said.
Tim Sr. isn t alone.
RELATED KNICKS TAKING HARDAWAY JR. WITH 24TH PICK MAY SPELL END FOR J.R.
Whether it s in Miami or Manhattan the fan bases of both the Knicks and Heat will have an awkward decision to make when Tim Jr. enters a game this season.
It ll be mixed emotions Tim Sr. admitted. The Heat fans that know him will give him a nice ovation and the Knicks fans that will be there too will give him a nice ovation too. It ll be nice.
Tim Jr. was only 7 when he watched the shot by Knicks guard Allan Houston that beat the Heat in Game 5 of the teams bitter first round series in 1999.
I was sitting across the bench from the Miami Heat and he went down fullcourt shot the floater and hit the front of the rim and back and it went in he said. After that all I see is him running down the court and him pumping his fist. That was the only thing I remember.
From the neck down the six foot Tim Sr. and the 6 6 Tim Jr. couldn t look any different the kid has a long lean athletic build while his dad sported a bowling ball like physique and used his body to penetrate against bigger more physical defenders.
When asked if he s more athletic than his father was Tim Jr. kept it blunt Yeah. I am he said. He s short and stubby.
While Tim Sr. specialized in pushing the fast break as a pure point guard and making defenders dizzy with his ballhandling Tim Jr. has the hops his father always wished he had. Tim Jr. s athleticism most notably his vertical leap was evident in the 2013 NCAA title game when he cocked back a one handed slam and posterized Louisville s Gorgui Dieng. Michigan lost the game 82 76 but Hardaway walked away with well deserved bragging rights and an ever rising NBA draft stock.
On draft night however Tim Jr. slid past the Cavaliers at 19 then the Bulls at 20. The Jazz Nets and Pacers all passed on the third year college player despite his being projected to fall between picks 18 21.
Then the Knicks were on the clock. Five minutes later Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. celebrated the pick over dinner with family and friends in Miami. Less than 12 hours
later they were en route to Greenburgh.